Randy Johnson

The Big Unit? More like the Busted Unit. All right, whose freakin' idea was it to bring back Randy Johnson to the Arizona Diamondbacks? What has this former world champion baseball team become, a charity for cranky, worn-out pitchers?

The 43-year-old Johnson — who ranks up there with Ty Cobb historically as one of the biggest jerks in the game — maybe had one good year left. And this season was it. Now he won't be back until next season? Well, we guess the D-Backs are stuck with him, no matter how decrepit he'll be by spring training 2008. When the New York Yankees are through with a player, that should tell you something. They're the most successful franchise ever, and they didn't get that way by running a rest home for old and infirm pitching greats. When you're used up, you're out! But the D-Backs front office just had this compulsion to bring back one of the stars of the team's 2001 World Series campaign in the midst of rebuilding the lineup with young talent.

Look, we're not saying Randy Johnson wasn't the bomb. He was! He's a future Hall of Famer who's got the third-most strikeouts in history. With 284 wins, he's a five-time Cy Young Award winner. In his prime, he could throw a fastball more than 100 miles per hour, and his signature pitch was a blistering slider. Batters felt like the proverbial Davids when the height of the pitcher's mound was added to Johnson's 6-feet-10. We all watched him throw a perfect game (his second) in 2004 against the Braves.

The only reason to keep Johnson around at the money he commands — $9.15 million in '07 — would be to see if he could break Nolan Ryan's 5,714 career strikeout record, or to see if he could become one of the elite pitchers to win 300 games. And with the herniated disc problems he's faced over the past few years, those feats could take more seasons than even a ridiculously charitable team is willing to finance. But more than that, we deserve a consistent winner here again, and the Unit's no longer part of the recipe for that.


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >